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A Letter to My Child With Food Allergies

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Dear Son,

You were diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies at the age of 4. You were unhappy about it, though you could not understand the significance of this diagnosis or how it would affect many aspects of your life.

You were sad. You told me that you did not want food allergies.

You will probably not remember the first few years post-diagnosis. You will not know of all the tears I shed for you. You will not know the fear I felt and will continue to feel for as long as I live. The fear of losing you… to one bite of food.

But here is what I believe you will know:

You will know the names of all of your food allergies.

You will know what these foods look like and what products they may be in.

You will know how to read food labels, shortly after you learn how to read.

You will know that your EpiPen is your friend and that it may save your life one day.

You will know that your set of two EpiPens must be taken with you everywhere you go.

You will know how to take good care of your EpiPens; you will find cool/safe ways to store/carry them.

You will know how to be a great cook/baker so you will be safer and able to enjoy the many joys of food/parties/cooking.

You will learn what a true friend is and who really cares about you and your safety.

You will know just how special you are, and that food allergies do not define you — they are just a part of you.

You will learn how to stand up for yourself and how to vocalize what you require to be safe.

You will learn that you can be just as happy and successful as someone without food allergies.

You will learn to have a lot of compassion and empathy for others because you know what it feels like to struggle and have life-threatening health issues.

You will learn what really matters in life: family, friends, helping others and love.

You will find a true, selfless companion someday who will love you for who you are.

You will realize the reason I said and did all those annoying things constantly was to keep you safe.

You will hopefully someday become a father and know how it feels to love someone more than yourself, and with all your heart.

You will know I did all I could to protect you and help keep you safe.

If and when you have your own child, you will know that if they face adversity, you will do whatever it takes to protect them.

You will be a wonderful reflection of all that is good in this world.

You will know how proud I am of you.

You will always know how much I love you, and how much I always will.


Kathy's son
Kathy’s son
Originally published: January 6, 2016
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